To celebrate the university’s 50th anniversary, FIU News is sharing 50 moments in FIU’s history as part of our “50@50″ series. In the slideshow below, check out photos from FIU’s first Homecoming Week in 1980. Images appear courtesy of the FIU Special Collections & University Archives and FIU Student Media.
By Joel Delgado ’12 MS ’17
With a penchant for breaking new ground and not following the status quo, FIU did things differently from other institutions for its first Homecoming Week in October 1980.
While most high schools and universities concluded their Homecoming festivities with a football game, FIU didn’t have a football program so the university rallied around its fútbol team for its Homecoming Game.
The day before the game against the University of Miami, FIU’s first pep rally was held at University House (now the Graham Center), featuring men’s soccer head coach and ex-Miami Dolphin Karl Kremser, a pep band, cheerleaders and an enthusiastic crowd of students.
The Sunblazers crushed the Hurricanes in 12-0 rout at FIU Soccer Stadium Saturday afternoon to finish the week with a bang.
The 25 candidates to become the first ever Homecoming King and Queen were announced in a special opening ceremony Oct. 16. A unique selection process was employed to determine who would become FIU’s royalty: jars with each candidate’s name were placed on a table in University House and students could put as many pennies for the candidates of his or her choice. Each penny represented one vote and the candidate with the most pennies in his or her jar was declared the winner.
Approximately $400 was collected, all of which went to the university’s scholarship fund.
The first Homecoming King (Ed Rose) and Queen (Kathy McGrath) were crowned at halftime. Mary Ann Wolfe, the wife of President Gregory B. Wolfe, crowned Rose while Student Affairs Vice President Henry Thomas crowned McGrath.
After the game, the party continued with a barbeque in the early evening and a concert featuring folksinger Nina Khale and musical groups Foxy and Tavares, the latter known for their appearance on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
Another quirky, outside-the-norm event held Friday night at the library was the “Roast of FIU.” The event featured an odd assortment of FIU professors and administrators dressed up as ducks, pigs and clowns. Each “roasted” FIU with satirical stories from the university’s short eight-year history, with no issue or topic off limits.
Since then, Homecoming Week has grown and become a vibrant annual tradition on campus. Among the events that take place during the celebratory now are the Panthermonium Concert, the Panther Prowl Comedy Show (which has featured Kevin Hart, the Wayans Brothers and Mike Epps), a talent show and the Homecoming Day Parade.
And since FIU football’s launch in 2001, the Homecoming Game has involved a home football game. The 2015 Homecoming Game will feature FIU football, which is 5-8 in Homecoming Games in its history, against Old Dominion at FIU Stadium Saturday, Oct. 24.
For more information on FIU Homecoming, click here.